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ARE MIGRANTS CAUSING MEASLES OUTBREAKS IN CANADA? FACT CHECKING X FOR THE TRUTH.

Dan Flanagan, Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC) Team

Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor

Week of Monday, March 4, 2024


Virus [1]


Claim: X user @telecommoner claims measles has been reintroduced to Canada by migrants. The user accuses the media of blaming unvaccinated Canadians for the surge in cases. The post received over 500 reposts and nearly 2,500 likes.[2] 


Facts: 

  • Four Canadian provinces, British Colombia (BC), Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan have reported 17 measles infections. In Quebec, Dr. Luc Boileau confirmed of the active cases, most involved children. Three cases are linked to travel outside of Canada. Of the five cases in Ontario, all but one involved travel. BC and Saskatchewan confirmed their cases involved international travel.[3] 

  • Quebec recorded its last measles case in 2019.[4] In a 2019 publication, the Canadian government issued updates on measles outbreaks. The guideline indicates that most measles outbreaks in Canada involve individuals returning from international travel.[5]

  • According to Boileau, "vaccination fatigue" and outbreaks in Europe and other countries are helping measles spread in Canada.[6] Boileau said measles is more contagious than COVID, and most who are unvaccinated and come into contact with a carrier will become infected.[7] BC Premier David Eby condemned those persons "trafficking in misinformation about vaccines."[8]

  • Vaccination for measles is free in Canada[9] and can be received through the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines.[10]

Analysis & Implications: 

  • It is almost certain anti-immigrant groups will continue to blame viral outbreaks on immigrant communities. These actions will likely result in anti-immigration protests focused on perceptions of the Canadian government’s lack of immigration enforcement. Anti-immigrant organizations will very likely call for the government to enact stricter immigration laws.

  • Social media accounts that spread vaccine misinformation will very likely portray the limited number of active cases as a non-threat. Canadian government officials will likely engage with accounts to counter misinformation narratives over vaccines and for social media platforms to increase monitoring of misleading posts. There is a roughly even chance social media platforms will comply with government requests, likely furthering the anti-vaccine narrative that the government is suppressing citizens.

  • The Canadian government will almost certainly take action to promote the availability of MMR or MMRV vaccines. Health officials will very likely characterize the ongoing cases as having the potential to start a public health crisis. They will likely coordinate a nationwide campaign to increase vaccination numbers, awareness of vaccine availability, and the danger posed by measles.

Verdict: State whether the claim is false or true. FALSE

 

[1] Virus from Unsplash

[3] Four provinces confirm measles cases, including rare case in fully vaccinated man, CTV News, March 2024, https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/four-provinces-confirm-measles-cases-including-rare-case-in-fully-vaccinated-man-1.6794772 

[4] 10 measles cases identified in Quebec, 7 in Montreal, public health officials say, CBC News, March 2024, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/measles-cases-vaccination-1.7133166 

[5] Global Measles Notice, Government of Canada, August 2019, https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/504 

[6] 10 measles cases identified in Quebec, 7 in Montreal, public health officials say, CBC News, March 2024, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/measles-cases-vaccination-1.7133166 

[7] Ibid

[8] Four provinces confirm measles cases, including rare case in fully vaccinated man, CTV News, March 2024, https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/four-provinces-confirm-measles-cases-including-rare-case-in-fully-vaccinated-man-1.6794772 

[9] 10 measles cases identified in Quebec, 7 in Montreal, public health officials say, CBC News, March 2024, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/measles-cases-vaccination-1.7133166 

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